Ranch & Coast Magazine

September 2022

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will instantly recognize. Pan-seared scallops, lobster risotto (pronounced ri-ZAH-toe, of course), crispy-skin salmon, Beef Wellington — all of the dishes fans have seen cooked (and mis-cooked) a hundred times are all here. It's a diehard fan's dream come true. But how do these signature items taste? Horizontally halved and golden brown on both sides, the scallops are wonderfully tender with a sweetness that seamlessly syncs with a silky celery root purée. Bacon and pickled Granny Smith apples lend nice hits of saltiness and acidity. And the Wellington — the most famous dish in Hell's Kitchen history — lives up to its must-try rep. Buttery puff pastry gives way to perfectly seared tenderloin medallions encased in prosciutto and surrounded by an earthy mushroom duxelles. e evenly layered delight is further elevated by a sticky, savory red wine demi-glace. Despite not being a staple of the television franchise, the restaurant's sticky toffee pudding — a well-documented favorite dish of Ramsay's — is another must-order treat. Fluffy and rife with flavors of baking spices, its hug-like warmth is tempered by dulce de leche ice cream rapidly melting and becoming one with a pool of rich caramel at the base of the plate. Balance be damned, this is a dessert for those born with an insatiable sweet tooth. e rest of Hell's Kitchen's menu is made up largely of classics one might expect from a steakhouse. Appetizers include fresh-shucked oysters and shrimp cocktail served with a gin- infused cocktail sauce, Wagyu meatballs with tomato sauce and crispy polenta croutons, and steak tartare with black truffle caviar and a sous vide egg yolk. Salads like a lemony Caesar (available with chilled shrimp or grilled chicken) and golden beets dressed in Greek yogurt and a white balsamic vinaigrette make for lighter starters. Beef is what's for dinner on the entrée list, which includes an eight-ounce filet mignon with Béarnaise sauce, a 12-ounce ribeye with maitake mushrooms and shishito peppers, the Wellington, and braised short ribs with Yukon potato cakes and crispy onion rings. Not in the mood for red meat? Alternatives include a Jidori chicken scaloppini with roasted potatoes, artichokes, and kale, and salmon with Ibérico chorizo and a citrus beurre blanc. A wine wall splits the restaurant's two main dining areas (Hell's Kitchen is also equipped with a pair of chef 's tables), displaying red, white, and sparkling options. Across the room is a bar with its own seating and a wealth of custom cocktails ranging from fruit-forward refreshers like Meet Your Maker (bourbon, ginger liqueur, strawberry, apple, mint, cinnamon) to the smoked-on-the-spot Smoke on the Blvd (rye, Aperol, amaro, sweet vermouth). With a restaurant based on a TV show, especially one from the "reality" ranks, there's bound to be a bit of trepidation, perhaps even an understandable sense of doubt, but with Hell's Kitchen, what could easily be a gimmick playing on the emotions of longtime viewers is anything but. Attention has gone into every phase of the project, from design to service to the bar and, most importantly, the food. Getting a reservation may be difficult (Hell's Kitchen is booked out most of the year at this point), but it's worth the effort. harrahssocal.com/dining/hells-kitchen BRANDON HERNÁNDEZ Q&A with Chef Gordon Ramsay What led you and the team to select San Diego as the site of your first Hell's Kitchen restaurant in California? You could say Hell's Kitchen has always had a home in Southern California, since we've shot most of the 21 seasons of the show in Los Angeles. So when the opportunity arose with our partners at Caesars, there was no question in my mind we had to do it here. I love San Diego. I've spent time physically training for Ironman triathlons there and have had some incredible visits. From the food to the ocean and the people, it's hard to find a better place to be. What are your impressions of San Diego's dining scene now, and as it has evolved over time? San Diego's dining scene is thriving. When I was there in 2019, I was blown away with the diversity of restaurants and cuisines. It doesn't hurt being so close to the water either! And don't forget about the cocktail scene. It's one of the best in California. Do you expect to frequent the San Diego location or perhaps film there or within the county at some point, be it for Hell's Kitchen or any other projects you have in the works? I can't wait to get back filming in LA so I can pop down for a visit with the team and guests! Stay tuned... ranchandcoast.com @ranchandcoast RANCH & COAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2022 69

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